Amanda Reiman, PhD, former Manager of Marijuana Law and Policy for the Drug Policy Alliance, et al., reported in their June 2017 study titled "Cannabis as a Substitute for Opioid-Based Pain Medication: Patient Self-Report," published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research journal:

“Prescription drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Alternatives to opioids for the treatment of pain are necessary to address this issue. Cannabis can be an effective treatment for pain, greatly reduces the chance of dependence, and eliminates the risk of fatal overdose compared to opioid-based medications. Medical cannabis patients report that cannabis is just as effective, if not more, than opioid-based medications for pain…

Respondents overwhelmingly reported that cannabis provided relief on par with their other medications, but without the unwanted side effects. Ninety-seven percent of the sample ‘strongly agreed/agreed’ that they are able to decrease the amount of opiates they consume when they also use cannabis, and 81% ‘strongly agreed/agreed’that taking cannabis by itself was more effective at treating their condition than taking cannabis with opioids.”

June 2017